We’ve all been there. A cool new product comes out, like a smart thermostat or video doorbell. We research, read reviews, and find out… there’s installation involved. Wiring to be done. For homeowners, that’s not a big deal – do it yourselfers rejoice, while others hire their trusted handyman. But what about people who rent? That usually means we have to forgo those smart products, and may even get so discouraged that we believe there aren’t renter-friendly alternatives. As a renter myself, I know the feels.
That’s why we’ve started our Home Automation for Renters initiative, where we will dig up and feature renter-friendly home automation products to boost your home’s intelligence on a weekly basis. There are many smart products out there that do not require installation, hubs, or anything that will get your security deposit taken away. For this first feature, I’ve decided to talk about one of my favorite smart wall outlets, the Elgato Eve Energy.
Meet the Eve Energy by Elgato
This is a product we reviewed last year, and I still have it in my home – I like it that much. This is a small smart gadget, measuring just 2” x 2.5”. It plugs directly into your existing wall outlet, turning it into a smart one that you can control from your phone. When we first got it, we used it to control our TV, PlayStation, and speakers by plugging a power strip into the Eve Energy, and all of our devices into that power strip. It wasn’t too long after that I started reviewing projectors, so that tiny LCD TV was replaced with a shiny new Epson Home Cinema 5040UB and a 92” screen. Now, the Eve Energy is hooked up to our speakers, which means we don’t have to turn them on and off manually, ever.
Automate Everyday Essentials
With the Elgato Eve Energy, you can automate everyday items like lights, fans, humidifiers, diffusers – or TVs and entertainment systems, like I just mentioned. You can automate anything that plugs into a wall, but do you really need to turn on your hair dryer with your phone? Maybe. For most, it’ll be useful for a few basic things. By setting schedules via the Eve app, you can schedule the lights to turn off when you leave the house, and on when you enter. How? You can set the outlet to respond to occupancy, so it knows when you leave or come home by the location of your smartphone.
You can also set Scenes, like “Bedtime,” “Morning,” “Seduction,” or whatever you like! The Scenes can be created to make things quicker for you – a Bedtime Scene can turn on your beside light, or the kid’s night light, and, you guessed it, that can be a part of your schedules, too. If you want a light to turn on or off at a specific time, you can control all of that from the well-designed Eve app. Pretty awesome! Oh, and if you need to turn off an appliance – like a humidifier – while you’re away, you can access your Eve Energy from anywhere.
Works With Apple HomeKit
This is perhaps one of my favorite things about the Eve Energy. HomeKit is quite proprietary, as Apple has strict security protocols in place that home automation companies must comply with to partner with them. That means the number of smart products that are compatible with HomeKit is slim compared to those that work with Amazon’s Alexa, but this is a good thing! Apple’s tight security guidelines make it so you can be assured that if a product is HomeKit compatible, it is a secure product. No one can hack into your WiFi through your smart outlet or other HomeKit-approved smart products.
That said, you can control your smart outlet(s) via HomeKit on your phone, or using voice command. “Hey, Siri, turn on the living room light,” does just that, and you don’t even have to unlock your phone to do it. The newer models of iPhones (6s and above) do not require that your phone is connected to power, or unlocked, so you can shout your command from another room if you’ve left your phone there – no need to get up, ever. You can even use your Apple Watch to control the Elgato Eve Energy. There are some limitations with using HomeKit or Siri voice control, however, so for full access to all of the features, use the Eve app.
Watch Those Watts
Another cool feature of the Eve Energy is its ability to monitor your power consumption. That’s right. You can see just how much that humidifier is costing you, and take steps to limit your power usage so it doesn’t have to become a budget item. The Eve app allows you to see how much wattage your appliances are drawing in a visual graph, which, for your average light bulb, won’t be much. For others, the Eve Energy may open your eyes to ways you can save money, and that’s always a good thing.
Pricing and Availability
You can get the Elgato Eve Energy smart wall outlet from online retailers like Amazon (dig that Prime membership), the Apple Store, Elgato Store, Rakuten, Frys, SmartHome, and HiDef Lifestyle. It’s $49.95 across the board, except for Frys, which sells the Eve Energy for $39.95 online. SmartHome is currently offering a 20% off coupon on your next order when you sign up for their mailing list, so that’s a way to get a good deal on the Elgato Eve or even an extra item or two. Check out our full review of the Elgato Eve Energy for a more in-depth look at this smart outlet!